Reports circulated earlier this year that actress Danai Gurira, who plays the role of Michonne, would depart The Walking Dead series after its upcoming 10th season. The actress confirmed the news at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel today.
“I can confirm that this is the last season I will be on this amazing TV show as Michonne,” Gurira said (via THR) “I would just like to say that this has been one of the purest joys of my life to play this role and to be amongst these people and those who are not here right now and amongst all of you. I’m very thankful for the experience I’ve had in ways I can’t state right now. My heart does not leave in any way, shape or form. The TWD family is forever. The connection between us never ends.’
Gurira went on to call it a difficult decision, saying:
“It is not connected to my heart. My heart stays right here. It was about my calling and other things I feel called to. The opportunities I’ve had, exploring it as a creator of work. I’m filled with a lot of pain about leaving and a lot of gratitude. I am thankful to all of you. I love you guys, and I love this show. The TWD family is forever.”
Showrunner Angela Kang impressed on the crowd what Gurira’s contribution to the series was, saying:
“We will miss the hell out of her….The mark she’s left, the excellence she brings every day, the way her professionalism and passion… it’s been a remarkable journey. It’s been remarkable seeing her spread her wings out in the world as well. On the writing side, we take the responsibility very serious. It’s important ot the fans and to us. When we worked on the exit for Andy, we took it just as seriously. We want to do right by this incredible actress and this story. I hope we haven’t screwed it up. We put her through her paces this year. She’s a spectacular actress. She brought her A++ game, as she always does. I’m very excited to share what she’s doing.”
Gurira has signed a new deal to appear in a more limited capacity for the recently ordered tenth season, reportedly set only to appear in a handful of episodes before exiting the network’s flagship franchises. It remains to be seen if she will be transitioning to the upcoming trilogy movie spin-offs featuring Andrew Lincoln in the lead role as Rick Grimes. The 40-year-old actress’ character has been romantically linked with Grimes since season six.
The Walking Dead season 10 will premiere on October 6.